His Excellency Dr Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba is a former President of Namibia, serving his country from 2005 to 2015. Amongst other accomplishments as President, he is lauded for pushing for gender equality, increasing spending on housing and education, and speeding up land reform in Namibia.
From northern Namibia, a region synonymous with Namibia’s liberation movement, Dr Pohamba began his political career as the co-founder of SWAPO in 1960 at the age of 25. He was subsequently jailed for political activism by South African-backed authorities but by 1964, he established SWAPO’s Zambian office and started representing SWAPO across Africa until Namibia’s independence in 1990. In that time, he also studied politics in the Soviet Union and headed SWAPO’s 1989 election campaign alongside his close ally, Sam Nujoma.
Prior to his Presidency, Dr Pohamba served in various ministerial positions: he was Minister of Home Affairs from 1990 to 1995, Minister of Fisheries from 1995 to 1997, Minister without Portfolio from 1997 to 2000, and Minister of Lands from 2001 to 2005.
Dr Pohamba is the recipient of several honours and awards. He is a recipient of the Most Ancient Order of the Welwitchia Mirabilis (Namibia’s highest award), he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Namibia in 2011, and he was awarded the 2014 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He is also the former Chancellor of the University of Namibia.